Members of the far-right Proud Boys men’s group allegedly made a threatening late-night visit recently to the home of one of their critics, the latest in the group’s escalating actions against its detractors.
Gwen Snyder, an amateur researcher in Philadelphia who tracks the group’s movements, wasn’t at home when a group of men visited her residence around 11 p.m. on June 29. Instead, the men talked to her neighbor, according to Snyder, and warned that Snyder needed to stop posting the names of Proud Boys members and other information on Twitter.
“You tell that fat bitch she better stop,” one of the Proud Boys allegedly said, according to Snyder.
The Proud Boys, a group of self-described “Western chauvinists” founded by right-wing comedian Gavin McInnes, have sought to portray themselves as a harmless fraternal organization devoted mostly to supporting Trump and drinking beer. Proud Boys regularly attend Republican events in their black-and-gold polo shirt uniforms, and Proud Boys have served as a security detail for former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone.
Even as they’ve been embraced by some parts of the Republican Party, Proud Boys have repeatedly violently attacked counterprotesters. Proud Boys in New York City and Portland are currently facing criminal charges over violence surrounding political rallies. In June, a group of Proud Boys attempted to confront people protesting Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff in Florida, but were stopped by a line of police.
Security camera footage that Snyder provided to The Daily Beast shows a group of men, including one who appears to be wearing a motorcycle helmet, congregating outside Snyder’s house. Before leaving her street, two of the men put up Proud Boys stickers on poles on the block, according to the video. Snyder said another sticker for the Proud Boys’ Philadelphia chapter was left on her front door.
“It’s really disconcerting, both personally in terms of my own safety, and also just terrifying to think that’s where we’re at as a country,” Snyder said.
The Proud Boys didn’t respond to a request for comment. Snyder, who reported the threat to Philadelphia police, shared the security camera footage with The Daily Beast on the condition that the video not be made public to avoid interfering with any police investigation.
Before the Proud Boys visited her home, according to Snyder, she’d received messages from Twitter accounts threatening to kidnap her pets. Snyder’s parents had also been deluged with harassing phone calls.
The visit to Snyder’s home was also preceded by a post on Telegram, a Russian encrypted messaging app that’s become increasingly popular with far-right extremists in the United States. In the post, made in a channel that’s used by Proud Boys to organize internet harassment campaigns, an anonymous Proud Boy called for coordinated action against Philadelphia’s “biggest shit stains.”
“Stay tuned info [sic] on a few of Phillys biggest shit stains coming soon and we are going to need everyone's help,” the post read.
This isn’t the first time Proud Boys have allegedly intimidated a critic by showing up at their home, apparently to make clear that the group knows where they live. In 2018, a Proud Boy went to the home of comedy video editor Vic Berger, who’s made videos mocking Proud Boys founder McInnes and other far-right figures.
“Your videos are hurting a lot of people,” the Proud Boy told Berger, after surprising him at his home. “You’re really hurting the Proud Boys. You need to stop making these videos.”
Berger later received an internal Proud Boys document calling for members to find the addresses of the group’s opponents, as well as the addresses of their relatives. “LET’S SHOW THEM THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES!!!” the message read.
Snyder said the threatening visits to Proud Boys critics represent an escalation for the group, which has previously tried to adopt a more respectable image to fit into the mainstream Republican Party. That attempt has come even as the Proud Boys offer members who get in a fight for the cause a special commendation, and once ran a self-described “paramilitary” wing run by an open white nationalist.
“In the past they’ve been really more optics-oriented,” Snyder said. “This is a real turn for them, going to the homes of people, women, and people with children and terrorizing them in the middle of the night.”